|Diawara namechecked Nina Simone and Fela Kuti during last Thursday's concert and, as I hope this series of images suggests, their influence was evident as her performance moved from powerful elegance to communal exhilaration|
Among the many things missed by the 75% of Venice's tourists who spend only a few hours in the city are major events like the Venezia Jazz Festival, which each summer features an inspired (and inspiring) mix of legendary artists--such as Gil Gilberto this year--and younger ones, like Fatoumata Diawara, who performed last Thursday night. For anyone planning a trip to Venice during the first half of next summer, it's something that should be kept in mind.
More immediately, Fatoumata Diawara is touring extensively in Europe in support of her new album Fenfo through the rest of 2018 (see the full schedule, which includes two US concerts, here). A native of Mali who now lives in Paris, Diawara's recorded material (available through the usual online sources) is fantastic (this video from her first album is a good introduction, and includes an English translation of its lyrics among the comments); her performance live is unforgettable. See her if you get the chance.
|Audience members join Diawara onstage for the encore|